From Academic Kids

Glasnost (Russian: гла́сность, Template:Audio) was one of Mikhail Gorbachev's policies introduced to the Soviet Union in 1985. The term is a Russian word for "publicity", "openness".



Gorbachev's goal in undertaking glasnost was to pressure conservatives within the Party who opposed his policies of economic restructuring, or perestroika and also hoped that through different ranges of openness, debate and participation, the Russian people would support and participate in perestroika.

Areas of concern

While in the West the notion of "glasnost" is associated with freedom of speech, the main goal of this policy was to make the country's management transparent and open to debate, to change the former situation when major political and management decisions were made by a narrow circle of apparatchiks or within the Politburo and were beyond criticism. Through reviewing the past or current mistakes being made, it was hoped that the Russian people would back reforms such as perestroika.

Glasnost gave new freedoms to the people, such as a greater freedom of speech — a radical change, as control of speech and suppression of government criticism had previously been a central part of the Soviet system. There was also a greater degree of freedom within the media. In the late 1980's, the Soviet government came under increased criticism, as did Leninist ideology (which Gorbachev had attempted to preserve as the foundation for reform), and members of the Russian population were more outspoken in their view that the Soviet government had become a failure. Glasnost did indeed provide freedom of expression, far beyond what Gorbachev had intended, and changed citizens' view towards the government, which finally led to the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Glasnost and democratisation

Glasnost was considered a step towards real democracy in Russia. The press became far less controlled, to such an extent that the official Komsomol newspaper (Komsomolskaya Pravda) was banned in Czechoslovakia following the introduction of glasnost.


Starting in the mid-1980s, the Baltic states used the reforms provided by glasnost to assert their rights to protect their environment and their historic monuments and, later, their claims to sovereignty and independence. When the Balts withstood outside threats, they exposed an irresolute Kremlin. Bolstering separatism in other Soviet republics, Balts triggered multiple challenges to the Soviet Empire. Partnered with Russian leader Boris Yeltsin, Balts asserted their sovereignty and Russias.

Under glasnost, the people were able to learn significantly more about the horrors committed by the government when Joseph Stalin was in power. Although Nikita Khrushchev denounced Stalin's personality cult, information about the true proportions of his atrocities was still suppressed.

Thousands of political prisoners and many dissidents were released in the spirit of glasnost. However, Gorbachev's original goal of using glasnost and perestroika to reform the Soviet Union was not achieved, and the Soviet Union was dissolved in 1991, following a failed coup by conservative elements who were opposed to Gorbachev's reforms.

See also

de:Glasnost es:Glsnost fr:Glasnost he:גלאסנוסט ja:グラスノスチ nl:Glasnost pl:Głasnost sv:Glasnost


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